Trail Tracks is the monthly e-Newsletter from American Trails. Check the topics below for links to the world's most comprehensive online source for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, enhancing, and supporting trails and greenways.
MARCH 15 DEADLINE: Questions and Answers on “power-driven mobility devices”
What do trail managers need to do before March 15, 2011 to address new rules allowing “other power-driven mobility devices” on trails? People with disabilities will have every right to expect to be able to use their own vehicle— whether it's an electric scooter, a Segway, or an all-terrain vehicle. We have compiled numerous questions that trail managers have been asking, along with explanation and clarification of each issue. Read Questions and Answers on “other power-driven mobility devices”...
Federal budget fight will affect funding for trails
With the changes brought by last November's elections, as well as the focus of both parties on the deficit, all of the "discretionary" programs in the federal budget are open to major cuts. Watch for news during February on how the debates will affect programs and agencies that fund trails and other bicycle/pedestrian facilities. The message for trail advocates: be ready to tell your members of Congress why funding for these programs is important. Read current news, opinions, and alerts about federal funding issues...
February hearings scheduled by House Transportation Committee
The House Transportation Committee has scheduled a series of field hearings on the transportation reauthorization bill, which will begin on February 14, 2011, in West Virginia. At least a dozen sessions in several states are planned for February 17-25, including a joint House-Senate hearing in Los Angeles. "State and local officials and transportation stakeholders will be invited to help inform the Committee's drafting of a long-term reauthorization of the nation's highway, transit, and highway safety programs." Read current schedule of locations and dates...
Nominate your project for a Recreational Trails Program Award
The Coalition for Recreational Trails seeks nominations for the 2011 Annual Achievement Awards. Each year trails making outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds are recognized. Several categories of awards showcase the important contributions that RTP grants make to trails for all Americans. The Coalition for Recreational Trails is a federation of national and regional organizations that support funding through the RTP. Learn how to nominate an outstanding project for the 2011 CRT awards...
Learn how you can support trails by joining the American Trails network
American Trails is committed to bringing you all the vital news about funding and policies that affect you. Watch for our ongoing alerts about the budget process, and breaking news on federal transportation funding. Please join our efforts to document the value of trails and bicycle/pedestrian facilities as transportation infrastructure, and be an active and positive voice in the reauthorization process, economic stimulus proposals, and Federal land management agency budgets. Learn how you can help support trails and share the latest information with your networks…
Volunteer or intern with American Trails!
American Trails is looking for volunteers or interns to assist us in a variety of ways. You do not have to be local to volunteer— you can work from the convenience of your own home, on your schedule. We are looking for assistance with web based research, data entry, project assistance, and more. Interested? Email Candace Mitchell with your areas of interest and computer skills.
Sign on as a supporter of the Recreational Trails Program!
Add your voice to the hundreds of groups and communities supporting funding for trails and greenways. This is the most important year ever to get Members of Congress to know why RTP is important. Invite your elected officials to visit a trail, see volunteers at work, or celebrate a trail opening. Tell the media, and send news clips to your Congressional offices. Read more about how you can support funding for trails and greenways and download the sign-on form to join the Recreational Trails Council of Advisors...
Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition identifies key issues
As we enter a climate of extreme fiscal restraint, members of Congress need to be reminded that the LWCF program is a wise investment with a dedicated revenue source from offshore oil and gas leasing royalties. Not only does LWCF protect our most treasured places across the nation, it is a significant driver of tourism, jobs, and local economies. Hunting, fishing, camping, climbing, hiking, paddling, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and other activities contribute a total of $730 billion annually to the economy, supporting 6.5 million jobs. Read more...
Albuquerque repaving Rio Grande river trail with ARRA funds
The $1.5 million project is being paid for by $1.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and the rest through a 1/4 cent transportation tax. Crews will be working in five two-mile stretches at a time. The rehabilitation began in mid-January and will end this summer. Detour routes and additional information on the project are posted on the city’s website. The nearly 11-mile trail is one of the most popular in the city, winding adjacent to the Rio Grande. Read more…
Public comment sought on new Forest Service Planning Rule
On February 10 the USDA Forest Service unveiled its proposed Forest Planning Rule which would "establish a new national framework to develop land management plans that protect water and wildlife and promote vibrant communities." The public is invited to provide comments on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement which is open until May 16, 2011. Read more…
St. Louis trails group acquires would-be casino site
Great Rivers Greenway has closed on a deal to buy 11.8 acres at the Chain of Rocks Bridge from the Koman family for $1.25 million. Along with about eight acres that Great Rivers already owned, it gives the regional bikeway and trail agency a 20-acre site in a key spot for its riverfront trail network. The site, along Riverview Drive in the northern tip of the city of St. Louis, was essential to the Koman family's failed proposal to win Missouri's 13th casino license. Read more…
New Grand River website provides interactive map of paddling trip
Ottawa County Parks (Michigan) has launched an online website for a new project called the Grand River Heritage Water Trail. Paddlers using the interactive map site will be able to plan short or long trips, find put-in and take-out points, and locate county parks and a variety of natural and historical features. “We’re seeing more interest statewide,” said Dave Lemberg of the state’s Heritage Water Trails Program. “What is happening is that local groups are going out and doing water trails." Read more…
Will trails be part of the next Surface Transportation bill?
"There are no Republican or Democratic roads. There are no Republican or Democratic bridges," said US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. What about the Recreational Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements, and Safe Routes to School? All these programs are only funded through March 4, 2011. Keep up on the news and issues that affect the funding you rely on...
2010 National Recreation Trails photo contest winners
American Trails is delighted to present the winners of the 2010 Photo Contest for National Recreation Trails. In celebration of these great trails we have selected award winners in several categories to highlight the diversity of NRTs, from backcountry trails to urban greenways. View all of the 180 pictures entered in the contest as well as the winners. We hope to see your photos at the end of the year for the 2011 contest! Read more and see photos…
Aboite New Trails works to grow and support Indiana trail system
Prior to 2001, the only trail that existed in Fort Wayne and its environs was a neglected Rivergreenway system isolated at the city’s core with virtually no outside pedestrian or bicycle access. Aboite New Trails sought to create significant change in the community, and ultimately the region, by educating the public and the local government on the vast impact trails can have on the safety, health, economy, and overall vibrancy of a community. Read more and see photos…
Sterling Park District trail system emphasizes community health
The Sterling Park District in Illinois is working in partnership with CGH Health Foundation to enrich the quality of life for citizens throughout the Sauk Valley area. The Sinnissippi Dam Walkway/Bike Bridge is one major project that creates an important link to the entire local trail system. A variety of programs from community groups, agencies, clubs, and the CGH Health Foundation are helping more residents discover ways to make active recreation part of their health plan. Read more and see photos…
Featured National Recreation Trail: Mountains to Sea Trail, CA
The Mountains to Sea Trail— the backbone of the 50,000-acre Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks— was created through cooperative municipal planning to let people of all ages and abilities experience unimpeded the magnitude, magnificence, and diversity of the Irvine Ranch open space. Your journey begins with a docent-led hike in rugged, oak-filled Weir Canyon and takes you south along the San Diego Creek Channel to Upper Newport Bay. Read more and see photos…
Trailbuilders Association hosts "Sustainable Trails Conference"
Asheville, NC is the site of the Sustainable Trails Conference March 13-18, 2011. Hosted by the Professional Trailbuilders Association, the conference is focused on providing land managers, volunteers, students, and contractors with technical skills to design, build, and maintain great trails. With a dirt demonstration area on-site, you can try out the latest trail tools from many manufacturers. Seminars include Rock Armoring and Trail Tread Hardening, Accessible Trail Construction and Planning, Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP), Road To Trail Conversion, Rigging for Trail Work, Secrets of a Master Trail Designer, Stonework, Mechanized Trail Building, and more. See conference topics and programs…
National Trails Training Partnership will meet March 17-18
The National Trails Training Partnership is an alliance of federal and state agencies, organizations, colleges, and businesses working to publicize trail training programs and providers and promote cooperation on training efforts. Led by American Trails, NTTP also hosts an online clearinghouse of training and a wealth of technical resources. We invite anyone interested to join us at the next Partnership meeting in Asheville, NC, March 17-18, 2011, where many NTTP supporters will be taking part in the Sustainable Trails Conference. Read notes from past NTTP Partnership meetings and read about the March 17-18 meeting in Asheville...
American Trails provides workshops on key trail topics
American Trails is working with states and local groups to help bring more training and skills development directly to them. We have identified several key areas where more resources are needed: accessible trails, assessing trails, trail crew leadership, developing a state training program, and working with developers. You can host these educational programs on important trails and greenways topics offered by American Trails. See workshop topics and summaries…
Spring training: trail-related classes, workshops, and conferences; see details on these and many more opportunities for training on trails and greenways topics in the Online Training Calendar atwww.TrailsTraining.net
- February 25-27 ~ Alabama Hiking Conference • Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville, AL
- February 26 ~ Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer Course • Grapevine, TX
- February 26, 2011 ~ New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit • Trenton, NJ
- March 8-10 ~ National Bike Summit • Washington, DC
- March 12 ~ Volunteer Trail Crew Training - Trail Alignment Skills • Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
- March 13-18 ~ Sustainable Trails Conference • Asheville, NC
- March 19 ~ Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer Course • Carlsbad, CA
- March 19-23 ~ Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society Annual Conference • Valley Forge, PA
- March 29-30 ~ Oregon Active Transportation Summit • Salem, OR
- April 1-3 ~ Alabama Trails Conference • Fairhope, AL
- April 2 ~ Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer Course • Fresno, CA
- April 3-8 ~ Basic Trails Management • Monterey County, CA
- April 11-13 ~ California Trails and Greenways Conference • Contra Costa County, CA
- April 13-16 ~ Tracks and Trails Conference • Sydney, Australia
Trails crossing roads: new Cool Trail Solutions photo gallery
Potential hazards exist every time a trail crosses a street or roadway. Some trail and bikeway crossings use the same warnings and crosswalks as standard pedestrian crossings. Others use creative signs to warn trail users to stop and be alert to motorized traffic. Standard red stop signs are generally used on trails where they cross roadways. See examples from a variety of trails across the United States. Read more and see photo gallery…
Presentations from National Trails Symposium available online
Dozens of educational sessions and 15 mini-workshops highlighted the theme of the 2010 American Trails National Symposium, “Trails: The Greenway for America.” We are making over 40 of these presentations available as part of our National Trails Training Partnership efforts to share educational resources. See workshop programs from many different topics, which can be downloaded as PDF files made from the original PowerPoint slide shows. See presentation summaries and links to files.
National Bicycling and Walking Study: 15–Year Status Report
This report is the third status update to the National Bicycling and Walking Study, originally published in 1994 as an assessment of bicycling and walking as transportation modes in the United States. The 15-year report examines a range of efforts to increase bicycling and walking in the United States. Programs at the Federal, State, and local levels are included, as well as case studies on best practices. Finally, the report makes recommendations for research, policy, and other measures that can be taken to meet the goals of the original study. Read more...
Threading the Sand Creek Greenway through an industrial landscape
Sand Creek in Commerce City, Colorado, is a greenway within an active industrial corridor that includes petroleum refineries, chemical plants, irrigation ditches, and gravel mining operations. The Sand Creek Trail is part of a larger regional greenway connecting 50 miles of urban trails in the northeast Denver Metropolitan area. The master plan was completed in 1994 with the vision of enhancing the wildlife habitat, creating wetlands to enhance the quality of water, and developing trails. Read more and see photos…
Arizona State Motorized and Non-motorized Trails Plan
As 69% of Arizonans are trail users, the demand for recreational trails in Arizona, both motorized and non-motorized, is high. The purpose of this Plan is to provide information and recommendations to guide Arizona State Parks and other agencies in Arizona in their management of motorized routes and non-motorized trail resources, and specifically to guide the distribution and expenditure of the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund, Arizona Heritage Fund, and the Recreational Trails Program. Read more and see photos…
Read more articles, studies, and resources…
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Photo at top: Boulder Creek Trail, Boulder, CO, Jan. 9, 2011 (photo by Stuart Macdonald)